Let the March Madness Begin!

Are you a fan of March Madness? Then you may be in luck: A new OfficeTeam survey finds that many employers may be willing to play ball. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of senior managers said activities tied to the college basketball playoffs boost employee morale, and more than one-quarter (27 percent) felt these activities have a positive impact on worker productivity.

In fact, results are up from a similar survey conducted in 2013, where 20 percent said NCAA basketball tournament activities improve morale and 16 percent thought it helped productivity.

How Companies Can Jump on the March Madness Bandwagon

Although many companies (62 percent) still feel college basketball playoff activities have no impact on employee morale and productivity, many are starting to see the benefits of embracing sports-related festivities in the workplace. Knowing how busy their employees have been the last few years, activities tied to sporting events can be a nice stress-reliever and offer a chance to bond with coworkers. Plus, workers will still likely get their work done even if they're taking short breaks.

Some ideas for celebrating March Madness at work:

  • Organize an informal lunch or dinner at a restaurant to watch a big game together.
  • Let staff wear their favorite teams’ apparel or decorate their workspaces, within reason, to get in the spirit.
  • Have a friendly office competition where individuals can win bragging rights or small items such as company-awarded gift certificates without the exchange of money. (Yes, I said without the exchange of money, because I'm certainly not encouraging gambling at work!)

Making Sure No One Drops the Ball

To keep things on track during NCAA basketball tournaments, it's important for managers to clearly communicate policies regarding issues such as breaks and personal Internet use so workers know what's acceptable. Supervisors also can set a good example of how to participate in tournament festivities without getting sidelined from responsibilities.  

Workers can do their part by making sure their participation in related activities isn't distracting them from their job. Also, those interested in taking time off to watch games should check in with their bosses in advance so that projects can be reassigned to other team members or temporary professionals can be brought on board, if necessary. 

Something for the Non-Sports Enthusiasts, Too

Not interested in March Madness, you say? To be honest, I'm not either. But even if you aren’t rooting for a particular basketball team, participating in office tournament activities can be a great opportunity to take a quick break from work and build rapport with colleagues. Sports fan or not, I think we're all fans of taking a temporary respite from work now and then.

Are March Madness festivities allowed at your workplace? Let us know how your company celebrates sporting events in the comments section below!